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Kindness and Consideration

While attempting to enjoy some time in the sand box at our local park the other day, my three year old son looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mommy, why do those big boys keep grabbing my toys from me?”


I had already intervened three times in twenty minutes.


“They just forgot their manners today, sweet boy.  They seem really excited.  But they should ask.  And say please.”


“It hurts my feelings when they do that, Mommy.”


It’s not the first time his feelings have been hurt, and I know that it won’t be the last.


It can be tricky to teach kindness and consideration in a world full of kids who are not being taught the same lesson.


Don’t get me wrong; we encounter plenty of friendly children during our park outings.  But the not-so-friendly ones often turn a nice morning at the park into a stressful morning at the park.  So much so that my sweet boy requests to leave when the going gets tough.


Although I want him to learn to be assertive, I can’t say that I blame him for wanting to leave.


The sand box is his happy place.  He spends hours in his own sand box in the backyard.  But if it isn’t fun at the park…why stick around?


Therein lies the problem.  If he stands a chance of practicing assertiveness skills, the tot lot is the best place to do it.  There he can interact with other kids about his age and practice sharing and asserting his needs.


There he can laugh with, learn from, and have fun with other kids.  On a good day.


There he can thrive (in theory)….


But not if I’m the only mom finding the teachable moments.


Not if I am the only one providing gentle reminders about things like sharing, nice voices, kindness, and consideration.


Not if I’m the only one paying attention.


Babies don’t enter this world with knowledge of kindness and consideration.  These are skills that parents have to teach.  Over and over again.


It takes time, patience, and practice to teach appropriate social interaction skills.


It requires all of us to work together and do our part to make sure that our kids are being kind and considerate toward others.


It requires setting limits and adhering to those limits, even when it’s hard to follow through.


It requires active parenting at all times…even during an outing to the local park.


Give your children the tools they need feel successful in social settings.


Teach them kindness and consideration.


Every.  Single.  Day.


Sunday 10th of June 2012

Oh, this is RICH! I've just posted it to FB and I'm going to share a link on my blog Tuesday along with a recommendation for Don Rowe's book called The Sandbox! YaY - thanks for an awesome post and for being an active parent. I keep the mantra - What you permit, you promote - close to my heart and I think it's important to have those courageous conversations!

Barbara The Corner on Character


Saturday 9th of June 2012

Extremely well said. I am so happy and grateful to know there are consistently active parents such as yourself out there teaching their children the skills they will need to feel safe (know their boundaries), express themselves assertively and to be able to thrive in this world while developing meaningful connections with themselves and with others. I so love your idea of spotting and making great use of the "teachable moments".

My best friend also has a very active parenting style and as an unofficial 'Aunt', I can't tell you what an honour it is to witness and learn from them as she teaches her son with constancy, wisdom and compassion, always keeping in mind the future thriving adult she is helping him grow into. :)

Canadian Mom Blogger

Friday 8th of June 2012

It is definitely our job to teach our children. When I see a preoccupied parent not paying close enough attention, I try to think about what may be going on that I'm not aware of. They may be very attentive parents who are dealing with something challenging in that moment...we just never know.


Friday 8th of June 2012

It's a day by day learning experience too. To teach them. Not just a 1 time thing and they are off on there own. I'm always like a hawk watching over my boys, and if they are not doing something nice I'm quick to stop it. I wish other parents would do the same.

Multi-Testing Mommy

Friday 8th of June 2012

Kindness and Consideration are two important things we must TEACH our children AND lead by example!